A Psalm a Day
We are now fully a week into the season of Lent and our preparations for Easter on April 1st. A part of our Lenten tradition is to give up something we enjoy for the season and make room for God's spirit to work within us. I have heard from several of you about your choice of disciplines and how it is impacting your faith so far. I would love to hear from you about how your disciplines are going so far.
If you have not already chosen a discipline (or even if you have), I want to challenge you to read a psalm each day. The book of Psalms is a collection of 150 prayerful songs and poems that delve deeply into the relationship of faith. Find a minute or two each day to read a psalm, reflect on how it intersects your life. You could start at the beginning and read through the first 40 or so psalms, or you could just open your Bible to a page and read it (this works well for Psalms as it is in the center of the Bible). I will be reading through the Psalms this Lent and will offer some of my thoughts occasionally to be posted on our church's Facebook page, so you can share in the journey.
May God bless you and guide you through this Lenten season!
Blessings on the journey, Jim
Sunday's Sermon Snippet
Forgiven: A Bag of Rocks (Psalms 32 & 38)
How would you feel about having to carry a bag of rocks around everywhere you went? A number of small rocks might not make much difference, but add in several medium-sized rocks and a large rock or two and it likely would be a different story. While we might be able to bear the burden for a day or weeks, even years, none of us would choose to do so. There is no need to carry around a burden we do not have to. Yet we do it anyway. These Psalms today remind us how we tend to carry our sin around with us rather than leave it with God. As Psalm 38 tells us, sin is too heavy a burden to bear. It crushes us under its weight and drains the very life from our eyes.
God wants something better for us. That's why God has given us the path of forgiveness. Sometimes we act as if forgiveness is a punishment. Just as a young child so often balks at being told to apologize, we see God's offer of forgiveness not as the wonderful gift it is but as a burdensome requirement for us to live faithfully. Psalm 32, however, proclaims the blessing it is when our sin is forgiven and we are restored to God. Yet we cling to our bag of rocks - the burden of our sin that we carry. We continue to bear the weight of our sins against God, our sins against each other, even the sins of others against us (we may not create the sin but we bear part of the weight of its consequences), and our sins against our own selves. We could lay our bag down, but we are afraid to. What if God doesn't really forgive? What if others can't forgive us or what if they hurt us again? What if I can't forgive myself? So we ignore our sins against God and pretend they do not affect our relationship of faith. We futilely try to hide the sins we commit against one another. We hold onto the festering wounds caused by the sins of others and hold grudges in our self-righteousness. We live in shame and guilt over how sinful we are as we recognize the ways we have harmed ourselves in sin. It is just all too much - sin left unforgiven is far too great a burden to bear in life. Forgiveness is not easy, but it is the better way. Accept God's great gift and leave your bag of rocks behind. In the coming weeks, we are going to talk more about how forgiveness frees us and helps us to leave the burden of sin behind. What sins are you carrying around today?
Stairs Repair Update
Work on the stairs has continued with the good weather this week! The footings for the new stairs have been poured, and restorative work on the brick walls that joined the old stairs is nearly complete. Thank you for your continued support and patience as we finish this project in the next few weeks!
Living in Community
Thank you to all of our adults who welcomed our kids
to sit with them during our Ash Wednesday service!
Thank you to all of our Trustees for your work overseeing our stairs repair work!
Plan to join us for our clean-up day on March 3rd at 8 am!
There is plenty to be done from cleaning to digging and carrying things around.
Donuts and coffee provided!
This Week at Port Church
Wednesday, February 21
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
6:00 pm - Wednesday at the Port
Thursday, February 22
9:00 - 11:45 am - Office Hours
Sunday, February 25
9:30 am - Worship: "Forgiven: Forget About It?"
11:00 am - Sunday School
Monday, February 26
9:30 am - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Tuesday, February 27
7:00 pm - Bible Study at Dianna's house
Clean-up Day - March 3, 8 am
225th Anniversary Planning Meeting - March 11
VBS tentatively scheduled for June 25-29
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!